Honest concerns (gay rights, suppression, corruption)
Russia is old school. I wonder if the Olympics will spotlight oppression and bring into the light and thereby make variation more normal here and therefore, in my opinion, a richer culture. Some would argue the opposite, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said “The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract.” I think and hope for the former. Living in the International Broadcast Centre at the Olympics can’t help but make you see that you are but a small slice in a big gooey, crusty, crazy pie and the sooner you figure this out the better.
Give the Russians a break
My god they’ve spent a ton of do-re-mi. Literally built a new town, two new villages, new highways, and many new complexes. It feels like the Olympic park has been dropped from the sky. A Putin gamble that Sochi will soon become a worldwide exotic destination. But it’s more than that. These people are saying “You see, we can do this. We are world class.” And they are. From interacting with them to the opening ceremonies one sees that. Sure, the buildings are a façade but the people are not. They are trying hard. That’s what I liked about the opening ceremonies- it was about Russia and folklore. Not about companies and wardrobe malfunctions.
Development is a confidence game
When I was a teenager I went on an exchange program to England for a while, and then the tosser my age came back and lived with me in Toronto. We were both stereotypes: he was a worldly snotty hilarious Sir who went to Eton. I was a simple sporting boy who had him out shoal- hopping the islands of Georgian Bay to our cottage with no electricity. Time of our lives. We were different, but we both liked girls and like to laugh (especially at our failures with girls). A time where we realized the world is both small and massive but that simple friendships connect.
I see Russia at a similar stage in development. I am kinda going for Russia this Olympics. Feeling less us versus them, and more that they are reinventing themselves and they need the confidence. I should point out that I am only gong for Russia in things I don’t care about and I want team Canada to go all the way. Especially if we have a competitor that’s a a contendahhhh.